Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi’s U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign Focuses on Deondery Chambers, Petitioner v. United States, 555 U.S. 122 (2009)

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In the eighth installment of his U.S.S.G. awareness campaign, Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Deondery Chambers, Petitioner v. United States, 555 U.S. 122 (2009), which established that the offense of failure to report is not syonymous with the offense of escaping from prison, and should therefore not be considered a violent felony within the meaning of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

The Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.

In the eighth installment of his U.S.S.G. awareness campaign, Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Deondery Chambers, Petitioner v. United States.

Wisely and, certainly in line with what a reasonable member of the law abiding public would deem to be `common sense,’ the Supreme Court concluded that failure to report to a prison differed significantly from escaping from one.

In the eighth installment of his look at look at the history of United States Sentencing Guidelines, Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on the key 2009 case Deondery Chambers, Petitioner v. United States, 555 U.S. 122 (2009), in which the Supreme Court established that the offense of “failure to report” is not considered a violent felony within the meaning of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

Deondery Chambers pled guilty to contravening §922(g), which prohibits a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. The prosecution argued that since Chambers had three previous felony convictions, he should be sentenced to a mandatory prison term of 15 years per Armed Career Criminal Act guidelines.

Chambers conceded that two of his prior convictions were felonies. However, he argued that the third conviction for “failing to report to a penal institution” was not a felony as defined by ACCA, and therefore his criminal past did not meet the minimum threshold to be sentenced under ACCA guidelines.

The District Court rejected Chambers’ argument, and ruled that “failing to report to a penal institution” was akin to “escaping from a penal institution.” As a result, the offense qualified as a violent felony, and required an ACCA guidelines sentence.

On appeal, the Supreme Court ultimately held that “failure to report to a penal institution” did not qualify as a violent felony within the context of the ACCA, because it did not involve the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force, nor did it involve conduct that presented a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.

“Wisely and, certainly in line with what a reasonable member of the law abiding public would deem to be 'common sense,’ the Supreme Court concluded that failure to report to a prison differed significantly from escaping from one,” commented Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi. “This isn’t to diminish the severity of failing to report. Obviously, that is a serious offense, and a potential threat to public safety that must be prevented by all reasonable means. But, obviously, breaking out of jail is a much more aggressive and violent activity than failing to report to jail.”

Added Mr. Preziosi: “Furthermore, the distinction between the two offenses is backed by statistics published by the United States Sentencing Commission report, which noted that none of the 160 cases in 2006 and 2007 that involved a failure to report involved violence during the offense itself, or while the offender was arrested.”

Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Deondery Chambers, Petitioner v. United States is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/armed-career-criminal-act-defining-violent-felonies-under-the-united-states-sentencing-guidelines-failure-to-report/

For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.

About the Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate
Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law.

Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.

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